It was briefed in the aftermath of Theresa May’s Florence speech that she was prepared to see £20 billion or so paid as part of an EU trade talks settlement.  It is now reported that she is willing to see up to £65 billion paid.

So let us look at those two figures in the light of our monthly survey question above.

  • 55 per cent of our Party member respondents would support a payment of £20 billion or above.
  • 35 per cent would back one of £40 billion or above.
  • 14 per cent would support one of £60 billion or above.

Obviously, the higher the payment, the lower the support: were the Government to settle for £60 billion or more, under one in six Party members would back it.

Note that a full third of replies – 33 per cent – either believe that Britain should pay the EU “not a penny” or that “it should be paying us”.  Just over one in ten of respondents took the latter view.

What this survey result cannot tell you is how strongly these Party members feel about the issue.  What we do know from previous and recent surveys of them (see here and here) is that –

  • They divide down the middle about effectively bringing a halt to the talks and going for the “WTO option”.
  • Nearly nine in ten say that Britain must be able to sign trade deals during any Brexit deal implementation period.
  • Just under two in three say that Britain must be removed during any implementation period from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice.
  • Over two in five say that EU immigration must be reduced during any implementation period.
  • And about the same proportion say that the Government should aim for an economic, regulatory and social model different from the EU’s during and after any implementation period.

It is therefore hard to draw any other conclusion than that Party members take a hardline view on what negotiation settlement is acceptable, especially when it comes to ECJ jurisdiction, trade freedom, and, on the evidence of our survey, money.

And it is worth adding that while Theresa May appears to have taken a different position on money, the other two matters – trade freedom and ECJ jurisdiction – are still very much up for grabs.

We have 1300 responses to this question which, though fewer than we will have by the end of the week, is easily enough to justify early publication of the result.  Which is desirable given the topicality of the question. More results next week.